September 4, 2012 by Matthew Mason
I’m reading, for the first time, George Herbert’s A Priest to the Temple; Or, The Country Parson, His Character and Rule of a Holy Life. And I’m ready it slowly. Four short chapters in, it’s already mentally catalogued in the twofold category of “how on earth have I not read this before” and “why on earth has nobody stood over me and forced me to read it?” For my money, chapter one may be the best single sentence and single paragraph definition of what a pastor is.
A Pastor is the Deputy of Christ for the reducing [i.e., leading back] of Man to the Obedience of God. This definition is evident, and contains the direct steps of Pastoral Duty and Authority. For first, Man fell from God by disobedience. Secondly, Christ is the glorious instrument of God for the revoking of Man. Thirdly, Christ being not to continue on earth, but after he had fulfilled the work of Reconciliation, to be received up into heaven, he constituted Deputies in his place, and these are Priests. And therefore St. Paul in the beginning of his Epistles, professeth this: and in the first [v.24] to the Colossians plainly avoucheth, that he fills up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in his flesh, for his Body’s sake, which is the Church. Wherein is contained the complete definition of a Minister. Out of this Charter of the Priesthood may be plainly gathered both the Dignity thereof, and the Duty: The Dignity, in that a Priest may do that which Christ did, and by his authority, and as his Vicegerent. The Duty, in that a Priest is to do that which Christ did, and after his manner, both for Doctrine and Life .(Spellings modernised)
July 27, 2011 by Matthew Mason
Today, John Stott departed this life to be with his Lord. For those of us who remain this is a great loss; for him it is incomparable gain.
Few Christian leaders in the past century have had anything approaching Stott’s influence, as an evangelist, a preacher, a leader, and a man of God. Utterly committed to the local church, he was a leader on a global scale. Tirelessly devoted to discovering the message of the Scriptures, he was convinced that Christianity must be contemporary or die. Unashamedly intellectual, he was a man of deep prayer who loved Jesus and loved people. (The only time I met him (for two minutes) with great generosity he warmly encouraged my desire to be both a pastor of people and a theologian.)
Stott himself was the most significant evangelical pastor-theologian of the twentieth century, and because of his influence on me it’s never seemed strange to want to be both a pastor of a local church and a theologian. As a new Christian, aged 20, I was confused by the cross. I’d been taught that because of Jesus’ death, my sins were forgiven, but how did it work? Seeking an answer, I went to the university library and typed “Cross, Christ” into the catalogue. In God’s kindness, the first search result was Stott’s The Cross of Christ. It was the first book of theology I ever read, and it changed my life. Within weeks, his exposition of the Sermon on the Mount was the first biblical commentary I ever read. A year or so later, Issues Facing Christians Today was the first book of ethics. Careful, deep, lucid, pastoral, nuanced, charitable to those with whom he disagreed, and above all biblical, Stott remains for me a model pastor-theologian. God be praised for his life and ministry.1 Comment
July 17, 2009 by Gerald Hiestand
Tom Wright weighs in on the recent TEC vote to ordain homosexual (both active and non-active) to all orders of ministry. He writes,
In the slow-moving train crash of international Anglicanism, a decision taken in California has finally brought a large coach off the rails altogether. The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States has voted decisively to allow in principle the appointment, to all orders of ministry, of persons in active same-sex relationships. This marks a clear break with the rest of the Anglican Communion.
I’m an outsider to this whole discussion, so I’ll withhold offering any dogmatic opinions (can opinions be dogmatic?). But I like what Wright has to say in this article, and think the inevitable schism looming against the diverging horizons of the Episcopal Church and the global Anglican communion just needs to finish up and be gotten over with. From what I can tell, Wright has been a mediating voice between the conservative break-away movements such as GAFCON, and the “slow to force the issue” Archbishop. From the looks of this article, it appears things have reached a tipping point for Wright. I’m glad.
Read the rest of the article here.0 Comments